Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis

Christmas 2019!

In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 He was at the beginning with God.

All things came to be through him, and without him, nothing came to be.

What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race;

the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:1-5

As we celebrate Christmas, this great feast of the “Word of God” becoming one of us, the Sisters of the General Administration and I greet you warmly. 

A few weeks ago, Sister M. Rita, Sister M. Beata, Prof. Dr. Möllmann and I, visited our Sisters in India. During this time, we went to Ramgarh, Jharkhand, where our Sisters build a new English Medium School. On our way back to the convent, we planned to visit the people living in a Lepra Colony nearby. Some of our Sisters are serving in that Colony by teaching men and women in health care, soring, hygiene and many other fields. The Sisters look after their children and take care of their many wounds, which so obviously push those people to the margins of society. The day had already declined by the time we reached the Leprosy Colony. We were late because we got stuck in a traffic jam. In the evening light, we could still recognize the poor huts, but it was hard to see the faces of the people we actually wanted to visit. Here and there, an open fire lit up the narrow streets or cast its mild glow on the people and animals that lived there. The people greeted us very friendly and invited us into their poor houses. 

When I saw the hut in the picture above, I felt so strongly reminded of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, who was born in a wretched hutch. Later we met an older man; he greeted us so kindly by folding his hands, lifting them to his forehead, and leaning forward in welcoming us. It took us only a moment to realize, that he had no hands left but only stumps. He expressed how much he enjoyed our visit, but he was sad because we were late. 

 The old man asked us to come back, in the light of the day, so that he can see our faces. Although the old man was barely dressed in rags, he radiated a great dignity, and we felt so ashamed - tears dwelt up in our eyes in the darkness. 

“What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness.”

I believe that we need to allow our Belief in God’s presence to become apparent in the way, we envision others - regardless of illness, failure or sin. In practice, I believe that this means, that we recognize our need for God’s help to believe in the fundamental goodness of people and ourselves. Through the Incarnation of God's Word, our human nature was incomparably transformed and elevated. God's life is in us. There has seldom been a time in history in which there has been a greater need for Christians to give personal witness to the healing presence of God’s Word, made flesh in our world, through day to day living. The look on Jesus Christ, our Lord, who was born in the stable in Bethlehem, helps us to think of all the people who have become homeless, poor and sick, who are hungry and suffering; refugees of our own time - due to natural disasters, terror, wars and devastation. At Christmas, let us listen again to God's word and will, to lead our church and us in this hour of our history. Jesus, our Saviour, is the guarantor that man never loses his royal dignity.

We ask Jesus, God’s Word Incarnate, will give you an abundance of grace and awareness of Christ’s healing presence among us. 

Merry Christmas and a blessed and peaceful New Year 2020!  Yours,

Sister M. Margarete Ulager, O.S.F. 

General Superior